Posts Tagged: kids activities

How to Make a Kaleidocycle

Kaleidocycle, yeah!

Remember the Kaleidoscope? This twisted little paper project operates by some of the same principles. Made up of a circular “chain” of pyramids, the kaleidocycle can be turned in on itself over and over again to produce cool optical effects! (Plus, the process of making one is kind of meditative.)

Before getting started, you’ll need to pick a template. Try coloring a Mandala kaleidocycle or, if you’re feeling extra spicy, you can design your own from scratch! Either way, it’s best to do all of the coloring before you start folding.

What You’ll Need:

Scissors, Glue (a glue stick or mod podge might work better than school glue), Chubby Bird KaleidocycleColor Your Own Mandala, or Design Your Own Template

Kaleidocycle Step 1

Print out a template on cardstock and and color it as you please.

Kaleidocycle Step 2

Make creases along all diagonal lines of the template. You may have to crease them several times to make sure that they fold back and forth easily. These creases will allow the kaleidocycle to turn.

Kaleidocycle Step 3

Crease, Crease, Crease. Making sure to fold right on the lines.

Kaleidocycle Step 4

When that’s done, crease down the middle of each parallelogram (see dotted lines below). Once again, folding both ways will make the kaleidocycle for flexible and easy to turn.

Kaleidocycle Step 5

Fold the template hot dog style so that it overlaps itself and glue. Be sure to match up the middle crease of the “glue” segment with that of the top parallelogram so that they will bend together.

Kaleidocycle Step 6

Glue all sections keeping the tabs out. (It’s a Kaleido-worm!) You may have to wait until the glue dries before proceeding to the next step.

Kaleidocycle Step 7

Bend the Kaleidocycle into a circle and put glue on the outside of each flap.

Kaleidocycle Step 8

Tuck the flaps into the inside of the last pyramid and hold it until the glue is secure. Wait for your kaleidocycle to dry completely before trying to turn it.

Kaleidocycle Step 9

After the glue has dried you may need to slowly turn the kaleidocycle several times to redefine the creases and “loosen the hinges”. Enjoy you’re twisty turny kaleidocycle!

Look at the Kaleidocycle spin!

How To: Make Paper Flowers!

By Aryn Henning Nichols

In my adult life I’ve often found myself grateful to my crafty mother for teaching me her crafty ways. While my siblings and I complained during 4-H Fair Time as we cut out patterns and sewed our own dresses, skirts, etc., re-covered old chairs and learned to use cameras, I’ve found these things to be incredibly useful – and fun – in real life. (Thanks, Mom!) There’s another crafty thing my mom taught me that I’ve also used again and again to impress friends and hosts: the homemade paper bow. For the Spring 2011 issue of Inspire(d) (pictured above), I adapted it to be a paper flower for May Day Baskets. I find it is charming like this, but remember – as you’re wrapping your next present, don’t forget your scrap paper bits! You can make a super cool bow too! Leave it as one layer (like the flowers shown), or make more bow “flowers” to stick on top of the first (starting with smaller and smaller squares) to add more dimension.

Whatever your plan, here’s how you start!

Supplies:
Wrapping (or any other) paper
Scissors
Tape
Straw or stick (only needed if you’re making a flower)

1. Cut your piece of paper into a square .

2. Fold the bottom corner up to the top, making a triangle.

3. Fold the left corner to the right, making a smaller triangle (imagine you’re making a paper snowflake…)

4. Fold one more time. Keep the inside tip down (this is the center of the flower).

5. Cut the end of the triangle, rounding it off.

6. Cut all the seams up to about half an inch to an inch from the center. Do not cut all the way or your flower will fall apart.

7. Open the flower – it should look like this!

8. Get eight pieces of tape ready to go.

9. Flip over the flower and bring each petal’s ends together. Tape.

10. Cut a small strip of paper and make into a roll. Tape, then roll a piece of tape, sticky side out, and attach it to the paper roll.

11. Attach to your flower (or bow).

12. If you’re using as a flower, attach a stick or a straw, like we did here. Enjoy and Happy May Day!

P.S. Here’s the template for our May Day Baskets! Click for the printable pdf.

may-day-cone

Science, You’re Super: Bird Migration

Geese

By Aryn Henning Nichols • Photo by Joyce Meyer Photography
Originally published in the Fall 2012 Inspire(d)

It’s a familiar fall scene: you hear the honking first, then see the v-shaped flock fly over – geese heading to some exotic locale for the winter. It’s obvious why “snow birds” – ironically human – head to warmer climes to avoid the frigid Northern winters, but what about these birds? Why do they migrate back and forth each year, and how do they even know where they’re going?

Approximately 1,800 of the world’s 10,000 bird species take this annual, large-scale movement between their breeding or nesting (summer) homes to their non-breeding (winter) homes each year. (1) Like many things in life, food is the main motivating factor. Birds that nest in the northern hemisphere hang out in the spring to take advantage of the plentiful insect populations, budding plants, and large quantity of places to set up “nest”. As winter sets in and the availability of insects and other food options declines, the birds head south – simple as that. (2) Many of these birds that breed in North America migrate to areas south of the Tropic of Cancer (Southern Mexico, Central and South America and the Lesser and Greater Antilles in the Caribbean Sea) in the fall (August-October) and then winter there until April when they head back to their old stomping grounds up North to breed and raise young. (3)

There are three different types of bird migration: short (moving from a higher to lower elevation on a mountainside), medium (moving a distance that spans several states) and long-distance (generally moving from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere). For short-distance migrants, the reason really is as simple as a need for available food. But the origins of long-distance migration are a little more complicated. What “tips” the birds off that it’s time to get moving varies – days getting shorter and colder, dwindling food supplies, or it even something in their genetic predisposition. (2)

In the period before migration, many birds display higher activity or Zugunruhe – German for “migratory restlessness”. Even cage-raised birds with no environmental cues (e.g. shortening of day and falling temperature) show signs of Zugunruhe, further leading scientists to believe migratory tendencies might be genetically predisposed. (1)

Birds also eat more food pre-migration, storing it as fat. Fat is normally three to five percent of the bird’s mass, but some will almost double their body weights as they pack it on for the trip! The ruby-throated hummingbird, for example, weighs only 4.8 grams but can use stored fat to fuel a non-stop, 24-hour flight across a 600-mile stretch of open water from the U.S. Gulf coast to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico! But most songbirds don’t fly to their non-breeding grounds non-stop. They stop a number of times to rest and feed in places called stopover sites. Some birds stop only one day to rest and feed, and then continue their migration. Others will remain at stopover areas for weeks, storing up more fat. The arctic tern may hold the longest distance migration, made possible because they stop over various places to eat fish and feed along the way. The tern migrates about 18,600 miles each year! Amazing! (3)

It’s not just the distance traveled that is amazing, though – the “how” of the travel is pretty wild too. They don’t come equipped with GPS, but somehow migrating birds can cover thousands of miles, often on the same exact “bird highway”, year after year. Even first year birds may migrate – without a guide – to a winter home they have never before seen and return in the spring to their birth land. (2) They use the age-old compasses in the sky to navigate the way – the sun and stars – and also something really cool: the Earth’s magnetic field! Yes, you read that right! Birds apparently have tiny grains of the mineral magnetite just above their nostrils, which helps them find what direction is true north by using the Earth’s magnetic field.

Beyond that, day flyers navigate using the positions of the sun and night flyers find their way by following the patterns of the stars. And – get this: In their very first year of life, those birds memorize the position of the constellations in relation to the North Star! Some birds can also use their sense of small to help find the way. (3)

Many, if not most, birds migrate in flocks, which for larger birds, can conserve energy. Geese save from 12 to 20 percent of the energy they would need to fly alone – and some even fly faster in flock formation! (1)

In the spring, we’ll see them heading back up the “road” home, and now, when you gaze up at the first honk, know it might even be the same exact birds you saw this fall!

——————————————-

Aryn Henning Nichols was constantly amazed as she researched this Science, You’re Super. How cool are migrating birds?!?

References:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird_migration
  2. http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/studying/migration/
  3. http://www.zoosociety.org/conservation/bwb-asf/library/BirdMigrationFacts.php